Wellington's Tapu Te Ranga Marae burns down

A Wellington marae is in ruins after a major blaze.

Fire and Emergency was called to Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Island Bay just after midnight.

"When the first crews arrived it was completely involved, so it was an external attack," assistant area commander David Campbell told Stuff.

Eighteen appliances and 50 firefighters were at the scene at the fire's peak, but efforts have now scaled back.

"It kept growing," said witness John McKenzie, a resident of nearby Berhampore. "I thought it was going to go into the bush and head up the hill if they didn't get it contained."

Tapu Te Ranga Marae
The marae on fire. Photo credit: Paul Taylor/supplied

A spokesperson says the main building has collapsed, and fire investigators will visit the scene later on Sunday morning.

People were living at the marae, however everyone managed to escape the inferno.

The 11-level marae's construction began in the 1970s.

Tapu Te Ranga Marae.
Tapu Te Ranga Marae. Photo credit: Tapu Te Ranga Marae